Archive: July, 2009
The federal minimum wage goes from $6.55 an hour to $7.25 an hour next Friday on July 24. What does it mean? It means someone working an eight-hour day will earn $58 instead of $52.40. It may mean that fewer people will get jobs -- there are some who argue that a higher minimum wage discourages hiring. Others argue that the new wage is nowhere near enough. What do you think?
According to the nowhere-near-enough analysis, the new wage means that workers are still making less than they would have in 1956, adjusting for inflation. Those same analysts say that to match the spending power of the minimum wage in 1968, workers would need a minimum wage of $9.83 an hour.
Here's some math: Federal poverty guidelines are $10,830 for a family of one, $14,570 for a family of two and $22,050 for a family of four. One person working 50 40-hour weeks a year, without anything taken out for taxes or social security will earn $14,500 a year, under the new minimum wage.
Only 11 states have a large enough Hispanic population to enable statisticians and economists to judge how the recession is affecting unemployment for Latinos. Some of the states are obvious -- New York, Texas, California. But New Jersey is among those 11, according to the Economic Policy Institute, an economic think tank in Washington tapped by President Obama. The institute slices and dices employment numbers using census data and information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the first quarter, according to their analysis, the unemployment rate reached 7.9 percent in New Jersey. The Hispanic workforce fared the worst with 14 percent unemployment, outstripping African-Americans who were unemployed at a rate of 10.1 percent. Whites had a 6.5 percent unemployment rate. The institute's report was released Wednesday.
Please cut me a break! Who do these clowns think they are? Executives think the recession is a good lesson for their kids, according to a survey released today by TheLadders.com, an online recruiting service catering to top executives and those earning more than $100,000. The recession shows them that opportunity will not be handed to them.
Aah, but they'll still have meals handed to them. Chances are they'll be able to continue to live in their homes. Oh, drat, maybe now isn't the time to buy that flat-screen television, especially if they are still going to their beach house. Thank God there's a recession so rich kids can learn a lesson while other people lose their jobs, can't keep their houses and have to visit food pantries.
Slightly more than half of the executives polled (54.4 percent) had that point of view. About a quarter said the recession had no impact on them and another quarter, sensibly, worried that their kids might not have the same opportunities that they had.
College career centers are getting an uptick in business -- from laid off alumni looking for work. It's no wonder, because a lot of these college career professionals have a lot of expertise in advising prospective workers.
I'm going to cut and paste an email I received from recently retired college career counselor Patricia Peterson. Ms. Peterson used to run the career center at the West Philadelphia's University of the Sciences. I think she made a lot of good points. (Please excuse any typeface weirdness.)
"While I recognize the economy is in bad shape, I believe people really do not know the ins and outs of looking for work. People right now are really desperate and will go to any job fair instead of really sitting down and figuring out what they want to do and where they should begin. Also, people, even in a tough market, still place obstacles (in their own paths), which often are procrastination mechanisms.
Whatever the economists are saying, workers still remain wary about the job market, according to a survey by Glassdoor.com, an online workplace community with its non-virtual headquarters in California. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, indicates that nearly half of all employees expect their company's situation to remain the same in the next six months, while 39 percent expect some improvement. About half of all employees don't expect any wage increases in the next year. Only a third expect any kind of increase. Companies were still announcing layoffs in the second quarter, but were also adding unpaid furloughs, bonus reductions, mandatory vacations and job restructuring. Two out of five employees believe they'd be able to find similar at similar pay if laid off, but 31 percent say that's unlikely. Older workers and those who are unemployed are the most doubtful about being able to find similar work at similar pay. Scary, isn't it?
Words count when it comes to resumes, say Jim Bright and Joanne Earl, authors of Amazing Resumes, a book recently released by Jist Publishing. Your resume, if it is read at all, only has brief opportunity to make an impression. Try these words.
These are some of the good verbs:
Don't you wonder sometimes how these people who cheat their employers think? Isn't it obvious when something is unethical? Well, maybe it's not that simple. Read this story about how a company's top human resource executive and his wife, owner of a staffing business, defrauded his employer. This couple's path to jail started 95 percent innocently. In the end, their family got split up and it was a mess. Published in Human Resource Executive Online, which is edited by a real pro, Anne Freedman, this story makes for fascinating reading. Paul Gallagher, the author of the piece, quotes experts who make the point that these temptations are even more alluring now because so many of us are struggling. Ethics lines can easily get fuzzy.
Here's the latest disturbing statistic about unemployment, courtesy of yesterday's report from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Economic Policy Institute. In May, there were 5.7 unemployed workers for every one of the 2,554,000 jobs openings in the economy. Wow. (Click here to read the EPI's analysis.)
This news comes from the Labor Department report known as the JOLT report, (Job Openings and Labor Turnover). In May, as I said, there were 2,554,000 million job openings, up from 2,513,000 in April. But just to give you an idea of how far things have declined, there were 4 million job openings in May, 2008. For there to be a job opening, the company has to be actively recruiting -- bringing laid off people back doesn't count, nor do internal transfers and promotions. The job has to be ready to roll within 30 days.
The number of hires is also down from 4,117,000 in April to 3,980,000 in May. Hires include people brought back from layoff and seasonal workers. A third major statistic is separations. Here is where we see a glimmering of good news. Separations are declining. In May, there were 4,359,000 separations (which includes people who quit, people who were laid off, people who retired and people who died -- that's my favorite, hard to work when you are dead). Layoffs and discharges made up 53 percent of the separations. In August 2006, only one in three separations was due to a layoff.